Monday, November 4, 2013

How Manchester United could line-up against Real Sociedad

talkSPORT’s live commentary game on Tuesday night sees Manchester United head to San Sebastian in the Champions League, hoping to take three points from Real Sociedad. The Basques are in resurgent form lately, putting five past Osasuna last weekend, and with injury problems for manager David Moyes, the result is far from certain. Here, we look at how the Red Devils could line-up…

The ideal scenario
If David Moyes has luck with injury, and Jonny Evans, Michael Carrick and Rafael return to training on Tuesday morning, then his task will be far simpler. That would enable him to pick a similar side to the one that defeated Real Sociedad 1-0 at Old Trafford, with the likely changes being Robin van Persie for Javier Hernandez, the fresh legs of Marouane Fellaini for Ryan Giggs, teenager Adnan Januzaj for Shinji Kagawa, and Nemanja Vidic in for Phil Jones.

The realistic scenario
In reality, however, the chances of all of the above injury doubts making it to the Real Sociedad game are slim, and even if some or even all of the trio train on Tuesday, Moyes is likely to avoid taking unnecessary risks. As such, Phil Jones could fill in for Jonny Evans alongside Nemanja Vidic, while Chris Smalling may be asked to do a job at right-back ahead of Rafael. Michael Carrick, meanwhile, could be replaced by Tom Cleverley.

The absence of Carrick in particular could lead to a loss of creativity in the middle of the park for the Red Devils, so Moyes may be tempted to deploy Wayne Rooney in a slightly deeper role as a result, playing behind Robin van Persie in a 4-2-3-1. Adnan Januzaj is expected to play, while Antonio Valencia will likely retain his right midfield position.